Monthly Archives: February 2017

What do you Think of the Penalties in These Three Cases of Unreported FBARs ?

Ty Warner

Ty Warner
Ty Warner, founder/owner of the Beanie Babies line, was sentenced in July 2015 for tax evasion.The panel of three U.S. District Court judges gave him 2 years of probation and 500 hours of community service. The sentencing guidelines ranged from 46 months up to a maximum of 57 months. He agreed to pay back taxes and interest of $16 million as well as a $53.5 million penalty (the full FBAR penalty of 50% of the balance of the highest account-$107,000,000). According to Melissa Harris (author of this article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2015) Warner’s sentence was “a punishment that reduces evading millions in taxes to a speeding ticket,” and that the sentence “flies in the face of both reason and justice”.

Warner had an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, and was the 209th richest American.   According to Janet Novak of Forbes:

He admitted that around Jan. 31, 1996, he flew to Zurich and deposited about $80 million at UBS AG, instructing that no account statements be sent to him in the U.S., and that he kept the account secret until November 2007. During that period he failed to report at least $24.4 million in interest income on the account to the Internal Revenue Service, evading at least $5.6 million in taxes. He also failed to file with the Treasury the required annual “FBAR” report on his foreign accounts

What beggars belief is that Mr. Warner never provided any explanation for:

  • why he opened the account
  • the origin of the funds
  • audits of his books & records show the funds did not come from his company
  • his personal domestic accounts showed no signs of the origin of the funds

In fact the evidence suggested that the funds may have been pre-tax payments of some sort. To this day, the extent of his willful tax evasion is in reality, unknown.

So why did Mr. Warner get off so lightly? Was it because his lawyer Mark Matthews used the Olenicoff Defense?
Was it because his creation, the Beanie Babies line of stuffed toys, was just too cute for anyone to believe he was guilty of such evasion?

Peter Henning a Wayne State University Law School Professor and co-author of ‘Securities Crimes ”said in an interview, “I don’t want to say anything goes,….Clearly you can’t consider race or wealth. But you are looking at character. That is something judges can take into account. The question is how much should it weigh into the decision?”

This is where Mr. Warner hit the jackpot. He received 70 letters of support from friends, employees and recipients of his charity, actions which had nothing to do with the charges and only someone with money could do.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras (of the panel) based his sentence on:

…..a reading of 70 letters, Kocoras found that “Mr. Warner’s private acts of kindness, generosity and benevolence” were “overwhelming,” with many occurring before he was under investigation and, in Kocoras’ words, motivated by “the purest of intentions.” Most were done “quietly and privately.” The judge concluded: “Never have I had a defendant in any case — white-collar crime or otherwise — demonstrate the level of humanity and concern for the welfare of others as has Mr. Warner.”

So a man guilty of many years of tax evasion, who did not even account for the origin of the account nor any records of it, received an incredibly light sentence based upon support from his family, friends and beneficiaries of his kindness. Where is the law here?
 

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See the Glee at Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

See and hear the glee of this British woman living in Switzerland at renouncing American citizenship.

LaTasha Coates was lucky. She quickly got an appointment in Switzerland and soon after received her CLN.

That is very different than Canada where it may be a year to get an appointment (if a Consulate will even respond to a request for an appointment) followed by another long delay in receiving the CLN.

Or, you can do what Stephen did and travel to Iceland or another country to renounce. That increases the cost but it makes a very nice vacation.

FEBRUARY 13 2017 UPDATE ON CANADIAN FATCA IGA LEGISLATION LAWSUIT IN CANADA FEDERAL COURT: Government response to request for details on FATCA accounts turned over to IRS and CRA

Still expecting that the Constitutional-Charter trial will take place in 2017. Date however, still uncertain and will depend on how Motions are decided by the Court.

— The Government lawyers have now asked the Court, by way of a formal motion, to compel the Plaintiffs to provide certain additional documents and our lawyers will be resisting the motion. Will keep you updated on how this is resolved.

— See the (amended) Claims of the Plaintiffs and the now published as affidavit last response of Government to the Claims.

Note the changes (underlined) from original response on page 137 (14) in which Government denies Constitutional violations and now argues that “To determine whether any Charter rights or constitutional principles, written or unwritten, have been infringed unjustifiably by such alleged enforcement requires a factual matrix where the US has actually attempted to recover, in Canada, taxes or charges against a particular individual residing in Canada.”

Note also that Government has now DELETED on page 139 (16) its previous statement: “Furthermore, the defendants deny that there exists a principle of fundamental justice that foreign tax debts are not enforceable in Canada.”

— See the many questions asked by Plaintiffs to Government detailing the type etc. of FATCA information provided by Canada to United States and by U.S. to Canada, response of Government, and Objections raised by Government to Plaintiffs’ question.

I was particularly interested in knowing details on the bank account information that flowed from Canadian accounts in U.S. to Canada as part of the so-called “reciprocal” FATCA agreement — a key justification, in addition to promise of economic sanction for non-compliance, for Canada to “agree” to the FATCA IGA.

Government response to the request for information on the reciprocal bank data are: “On the advice of counsel. I am unable to answer” with the attached objection: “The Defendants object to Q. #4 and refuse to answer it because doing so may require disclosing sensitive information or potentially injurious information as those terms are defined in s. 38 of the Canada Evidence Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-5.”

[Also, I wanted to know: “…how many of the persons associated with those accounts had already been reported by the United States to Canada for tax purposes…? See the answer in link to this question…]

Still seeking Exit tax witness. Supporter suggests (and I agree) that anyone who took measures to reduce asset worth to avoid exit tax would be considered…

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Mr. Trudeau Goes to Washington

Prime Minister Trudeau is off to meet President Trump on Monday. Would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting! (Actually mosquito would be better-“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”-Dalai Lama)


It would be great if Trudeau would stop the flip Flops and stand up for Canadians.


Finance Minister Bill Morneau is also in Washington. So, I suggested Trudeau tell him to renegotiate the IGA

Nigel Green Launches Campaign to Repeal Obama-Era FATCA Law

Trump must show his mettle and reverse a fatally flawed, misguided law

NEWS PROVIDED BY
Campaign to Repeal FATCA
Feb 07, 2017, 10:26 ET

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial organizations, has launched a Washington, DC-based lobbying and media campaign to repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA.

With Obama in the White House doing away with FATCA was virtually impossible, despite repeal bills introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). “FATCA is a textbook example of a bad law that doesn’t achieve its stated purpose but does manage to unleash a host of unanticipated destructive consequences,” states Sen. Paul.

As his co-leader of the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, Green has turned to former U.S. diplomat and longtime Senate leadership staffer Jim Jatras of the media and government relations firm Global Strategic Communications Group (GSCG). Jatras, a leading authority on FATCA, edits the online publication www.RepealFATCA.com, which is dedicated to getting rid of what he calls “the worst law most Americans have never heard of.

On Green’s initiative, Jatras is assembling a team of experienced DC professionals to push the repeal effort over the top. “Nigel’s deciding to step up to the plate is just tremendous,” says Jatras. “Billions of dollars have been wasted worldwide complying with FATCA, billions of words have been written complaining about it. Now it’s time for action. When that tax bill gets to President Trump’s desk, we want FATCA repeal in it.”

For more information on FATCA and the Campaign to Repeal FATCA, contact GSCG, below.

RepealFatca.com

Twitter @RepealFatca